We all know Christmas is going to be a bit different this year – but what’s not going to change is our continued efforts to rid our communities of those who cause them the most harm.
Today (Friday, December 4) we are launching a month of intensive action led by the Op Galaxy team to help make Christmas more enjoyable for the most vulnerable in our communities.
Chief Superintendent Darren Downs said: “Christmas can be a really challenging time of year for many people at the best of times, so with the additional complications resulting from Covid-19 this year, we’re doing our bit to make it as safe and enjoyable as possible.
“Typically at this time of year we see an increase in domestic abuse, drink driving, online scams, burglary and sexual offences – and these are the offenders we’re going after.
“Over the next few weeks we will have additional resources and specialist teams from across the force working alongside our dedicated Operation Galaxy unit, to make arrests, find and return stolen goods, seize drugs and weapons and take dangerous drivers off the roads.
“We’ll also be sharing lots of help and advice on steps you can take to keep you, your friends, family and neighbours safe and reduce your risk of crime.”
Our top Christmas tips:
As the season of giving (and spending) gets underway, it’s important to keep your eyes peeled when buying gifts online so you don’t fall victim to fraud.
With the Covid-19 restrictions in place, more and more of us are doing our shopping online – and the online scammers know it.
Whether it’s unknowingly purchasing counterfeit goods, such as poorly made clothing or potentially dangerous electronic equipment; or falling for a scam which means you pay your money but don’t get your products – online fraud at this time of year is rife.
If it’s too-good-to-be-true, it probably is. Always use a trusted website to purchase your Christmas gifts.
The halls are decked, the lights are twinkling, and the presents are wrapped and nestled neatly underneath the Christmas tree… but not for long.
Christmas is a notorious time of year for burglars who are taking advantage of all those new, expensive gifts inside your home.
Without really being aware of it, many of us may be unwittingly helping burglars to target our homes.
Simple ways you can reduce your risk of being targeted include making sure those gifts under the tree can’t be easily spotted by people outside and – that old festive chestnut – keeping your doors and windows secure.
Staying safe after a few drinks
The way we socialise this Christmas might not be what we’re used to but that doesn’t mean the celebrations are being called off completely.
From virtual office parties to online family quiz nights, there are still going to be plenty of chances to let our hair down.
When you do have the opportunity to celebrate with a small group of family or friends over the holidays, please ensure your personal safety is top of your Christmas list.
Arrange taxis or transport in advance, drink in moderation – especially if you’re driving the next day – and keep your distance from any hostile situations.
Christmas can be a challenging time of year for families, with added financial pressures, free-flowing alcohol and a spotlight on relationships that may have become strained throughout the course of the year.
Almost half of the domestic abuse incidents that happen over Christmas occur when ex-partners get together to care for a dependent.
If you know someone who might be vulnerable and could potentially become a victim of domestic abuse, let them know about the increased risk at this time of year, help them plan ahead and call us if you are aware of a problem.
We may not know if we can head out to the pub to celebrate the festive season yet and but we do know that many people will be getting together for social events with family and friends as restrictions are lifted.
And those three or four glasses being drunk at home are likely to include far bigger measures than they’d be having in a bar.
The number of people we arrested for drink driving last December fell to 36 – but that’s still 36 too many.
Even the morning after the night before, you could still be over the limit. Use a taxi or have a designated driver providing lifts to avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.